Promoting Youth Mental Health in Schools and Colleges | Jigsaw

Promoting YMH in schools and colleges

Promoting YMH in schools and colleges

Promoting YMH in schools and colleges

  • Schools/colleges play a central role in the lives of young people
  • School/college-based programmes are a useful way for young people and professionals to learn about mental health
  • Jigsaw’s school and college-based workshops improve mental health knowledge, attitudes, help-seeking behaviours, knowledge about access to formal supports and reduce stigma.

Many young people spend a lot of their time in school or college, so they play an important role in their lives. The environment, relationships and opportunities that school and college provide can have a direct impact on their mental health.

They are also often the first place young people seek or get offered support for mental health difficulties. This could be through their friends, teachers or counselling supports.

For these reasons, educational settings offer an ideal opportunity to connect with young people and those around them.

Mental health promotion with staff, students and other members of the education community can help to reduce the frequency, length and impact of mental health difficulties that young people experience.

Evaluations of these programmes show that they improve the participants' mental health literacy

Jigsaw education programmes

Jigsaw has developed a number of evidenced-based programmes that target different members of the education community. Secondary and post-secondary students, peers, teachers, and other school staff are all part of that community. Evaluations of these programmes show that they improve the participants’ mental health literacy.

Some of the key findings suggest that the workshops improve:

  • mental health knowledge
  • promote help-seeking
  • develop familiarity about how to access sources of support
  • reduce stigmatising attitudes
  • boost confidence in supporting young people facing mental health challenges.

Check out peer education for more information about Jigsaw’s peer education research.

One Good School

In 2019, Jigsaw launched a new whole-school initiative for post-primary schools, One Good School™. This programme was designed to promote and support the mental health and wellbeing of young people. It supports young people, and those around them, by working with the whole school community. The evaluation of this programme will assess the acceptability and feasibility of the initiative.

Find out more about One Good School.

Reports and publications

Dooley, B., Fitzgerald, A., & Donnelly, A. (2014).

Mental Health Awareness Initiative (MHAI): Evaluation Report. Dublin: University College Dublin.

O’Reilly, A., Barry, J., Neary, M., Lane, S., & O’Keeffe, L. (2016).

An evaluation of participation in a schools-based youth mental health peer education training programme. Advances In School Mental Health Promotion, 9(2), 107-118.

https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1754730X.2016.1154794

Rogers, J., O'Reilly, A., Donnelly, A., Clerkin, A., Connolly, A., & Waldron, M. (2016).

Findings from an Evaluation of the Jigsaw Peer Education Programme: Summary Report. Dublin: Jigsaw, The National Centre for Youth Mental Health.

<link to PDF ERE01>

Donnelly, A. & O’Reilly A. (2017).

Findings from an Evaluation of the Mental Health Awareness Initiative (MHAI) for Primary Schools: Summary Report. Dublin: Jigsaw, The National Centre for Youth Mental Health.

<link to PDF ERE02>

O’Keeffe, L., O’Reilly, A., & Rogers, J. (2017).

Findings from an Evaluation of Jigsaw’s ‘It’s Time to Start Talking’ Workshop: Summary Report. Dublin: Jigsaw, The National Centre for Youth Mental Health.

<link to PDF ERE03>

Farrell, E., O’Reilly, A., Donnelly, A., Rogers, J., & Doyle, E. (2018).

Learning to Learn: Learning about my Mental Health Programme Evaluation Report. Dublin: Jigsaw, The National Centre for Youth Mental Health.

<link to PDF ERE04>

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